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One of the best parts about New Year’s Day is that anything is possible. The year is a clean slate, and you can make the most of each and every day, every moment. This reminds me of the garden. In the garden, you start each season with a clean slate, just dirt waiting to show you the possibilities. So, for my first post of 2016, I would like to share my goals for in the garden.
The Past 2 Years in the Garden
Over the last 2 years, we have built 9 raised garden beds, one of which holds our strawberry bed; planted 11 blueberry bushes; 7 fruit trees; and 4 raspberry bushes, which has turned into more than 12 raspberry bushes/canes in 2 spots of our yard. Last year, I also won “Garden of Distinction” in the Gardening and Greening Contest hosted by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and I look forward to participating again in 2016.
2016 In the Garden
I have several major additions that I will be adding to our property this year to make our homestead even more productive and able to meet our family’s needs.
- The Vineyard – Last season, I purchased a concord grape vine with the intention of planting it in the backyard. That grape vine is still in its pot from the nursery. After much discussion, my husband and I have figured out where to plant the grapes on our property. Since the grapes will be trellised, my design can accommodate 6 grape vines along a 16″ section of our fence in the front yard. While my main goal is to grow lots of Concord grapes to be used for juice & jam, I also want to grow both red and green table grapes for us to have for fresh eating or to dehydrate into raisins.
- The Micro Orchard – We currently have 7 fruit trees on our property – 3 apple trees, 2 pear trees, 1 cherry tree, and 1 peach tree. While that may sound like more than enough to most people, I would like our fruit production to be a focus this year. My plan is to add an additional 14 fruit trees to our property in 2016! In early fall, I was gifted two fig trees that will be planted out front between our shrubs and the house. On our side property, and possibly the back yard once we get things marked up from PA 1 Call, we will be planting the remaining trees which include 6 apple trees, 2 Japanese plums, 1 apricot, 1 peach, 1 tart cherry, and 1 pear. This list of trees may change slightly through out the season as we begin to purchase the trees from our local nurseries.
- Corn – I will be adding an entire bed of sweet corn! My husband grew up picking corn in his parents’ garden and having it for dinner that evening. Now, we can create that same memory with our children. The goal is to have our own homegrown corn on the cob in time for 4th of July. The first corn will be planted in March and kept in the hoop house so it is warmer and we can start our growing season early. We will then continue to plant corn every 2 weeks through out the season.
- Pollinator Garden – In an effort to encourage pollinators on our property, I will be planting a variety of wildflowers. The more pollinators we can encourage on our property, the happier our gardens will be overall. I haven’t fully decided which wildflowers I want to grow yet, but I foresee lots of reds, oranges, and yellows in my future.
In addition to planting more of what we love in the garden, I will also begin succession planting and crop rotation this year. I anticipate the first seeds going into the ground in late February, and then continuing to grow fruits and veggies, as well as herbs, straight through next fall.
Gardening is one of my passions. Its fills a place in my heart that wants to take care of my family the best way I know how, and provide them with the freshest produce around. Besides, when your fingers are in the dirt, you can’t help but smile.
Will you be growing any of your own food this year?